What are Annual Physical Exams?

what are annual physical exams? Date marked on a calendar and circled

What are annual physical exams? MainStreet Family Care is here to help you understand the full scope of yearly physical exams, as well as the benefits you can reap from getting one. 

Who Conducts Annual Physical Exams?

Board-certified medical professionals should conduct your annual physical exam. Typically, primary care providers conduct yearly physical exams, and these providers can be nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, or primary care doctors. 

At MainStreet Family Care, we offer annual physical exams in our primary care services

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Step 1: Signup for the Patient Portal 

Step 2: Schedule Your First Appointment 

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Steps Of Completing An Annual Physical

When getting an annual physical, your provider wants to know about your overall health as in-depth as possible. At the exam, your vital signs will be checked, and you will undergo a series of exams that take note of your physical and mental capacities. Additionally, your medical history will be updated. 

For more information regarding yearly exams, visit our Annual Physicals page. 

Vital Signs

To begin your exam, your provider will take all of your vitals. Vital signs include: 

  • Breath sounds
  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Temperature
  • Respiration rate

This is the first step to finding any underlying abnormalities and may be the determining factor of other tests that should be run. 

Physical Exam

After your vital signs are taken, the provider will begin the physical. This involves examining your body as a whole and is often the most lengthy portion of the exam. 

Your general appearance will be studied, which means that the provider will be taking notes on how your skin, eyes, and color look. The general appearance is a good indicator of poor health. 

After surveying your appearance, the provider will conduct a head and neck exam, which involves looking inside your ears, mouth, and nose for indicators of disease or poor health. They may also feel the lymph nodes in your throat. Additionally, they will check the mobility of your neck by asking you to move your head from side to side. 

Observing mobility and muscle strength is also a crucial portion of the physical exam. The provider will likely ask you to walk around and move your extremities to check for signs of poor mobility. They may also check the reflexes in your extremities. 

Finally, the provider will check your abdominal area. This consists of pressing firmly around the abdomen, checking for any abnormal growths, lumps, or tenderness. 

Mental Health Exam

Examining your general mental health is an important step in conducting yearly physical exams. The provider may ask you a series of questions to get an overall understanding of your mental health. These questions cover if you are under any stress, if you have depression or anxiety, or they may check up on previous mental health conditions. 

Updating Medical History

The main goal of a physical exam is to ensure you are in good physical health, but also to update your medical history accordingly. Your provider will be documenting all the aspects of this exam in your chart, and this allows future providers to understand your physical health. Additionally, primary care providers may ask about: 

  • Your diet and exercise routine
  • If you use tobacco products
  • If you drink alcohol, and how often

Each of these questions help your provider understand if you are at risk for future health conditions. 

Other Tests Performed At Annual Exams

Once the physical exam is over, your provider may order an additional blood test. These tests allow your provider to see any underlying conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. Tests your provider may order include: 

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Blood sugar tests
  • Cholesterol tests
  • EKG or ECG tests

Why Is Getting A Yearly Physical Important?

Physical exams are extremely important for understanding your overall health. They can notify your doctor of any risk factors, as well as help you identify conditions you may have been unaware of. Physicals are of utmost importance for individuals age 40 and over. 

Other Yearly Exams To Consider  

Although yearly physicals are recommended to everyone, there are other yearly or bi-yearly exams that you should consider getting. Some of these exams include:

  • Breast exam
  • Prostate exam 
  • Pelvic exam

Each of these exams helps other providers understand if you are at risk for various cancers like prostate cancer or breast cancer. 

Turn To MainStreet Family Care

Are you behind on your annual physical? MainStreet Family Care can help! We offer primary care 7 days a week, and you can typically get an appointment the same or the next day. 

To make an appointment, sign up for primary care through the patient portal

Sign Up Now! 

Step 1: Signup for the Patient Portal 

Step 2: Schedule Your First Appointment 

Register New Patient Portal Account

If you already have a portal account, simply log in.